Antiretroviral Guidelines

US DHHS Guidelines with Australian commentary


Optimizing Antiretroviral Therapy in the Setting of Virologic Suppression


Panel’s Recommendations


  • Advances in antiretroviral (ARV) treatment and a better understanding of HIV drug resistance make it possible to consider switching an effective regimen to an alternative regimen in some situations.
  • The fundamental principle of regimen switching is to maintain viral suppression without jeopardizing future treatment options (AI).
  • It is critical to review a patient’s full ARV history, including virologic responses, past ARV-associated toxicities and intolerances, and cumulative resistance test results, before selecting a new antiretroviral therapy regimen (AI).
  • Adverse events, drug-drug or drug-food interactions, pill burden, pregnancy, cost, or the desire to simplify a regimen may prompt a regimen switch. Within-class and between-class switches can usually maintain viral suppression, provided that there is no viral resistance to the ARV agents in the new regimen (AI).
  • Monotherapy with either a boosted protease inhibitor or an integrase strand transfer inhibitor has been associated with unacceptable rates of virologic failure and the development of resistance; therefore, monotherapy as a switching strategy is not recommended (AI).
  • When switching an ARV regimen in a person with hepatitis B virus (HBV)/HIV coinfection, ARV drugs that are active against HBV infection should be continued. Discontinuation of HBV drugs may lead to reactivation of HBV, which may result in serious hepatocellular damage.
  • Consultation with an HIV specialist should be considered when planning a regimen switch for a patient with a history of resistance to one or more drug classes (BIII).
  • Close monitoring to assess tolerability, viral suppression, adherence, and safety is recommended during the first 3 months after a regimen switch (AIII).
Rating of Recommendations:  A = Strong; B = Moderate; C = Optional
Rating of Evidence:  I = Data from randomized controlled trials; II = Data from well-designed nonrandomized trials or observational cohort studies with long-term clinical outcomes; III = Expert opinion